This week I interview an amazing account : @lunchmeatvhs !
- How did you come up with the name Lunchmeat?
“Ted Gilbert (co-editor of LUNCHMEAT) and I were working at Relapse Records way back in 2006 or 2007, and we would chat about movies, mainly horror and cult stuff, on our lunch breaks nearly every day. We were both writing for RESOUND (Relapse’s mail-order and resource guide) at the time, reviewing the genre movies we were stocking in the mail-order… and we thought it might be cool to start our own little zine about all these movies that were only available on VHS. We both had decent tape collections, and we were having a blast sharing these movies with each other, watching them, talking back and forth about them… and I think we just wanted to share that enthusiasm and passion, and make something tangible, physical out of that excitement. But we did need a name!
Our essential goal was to spotlight movies that were only available to watch via the VCR, and one of the movies we were really into at the time was a movie called LUNCH MEAT, a 1987 film by Kirk Alex. It was (and still is) VHS-only, and we liked the name, so I think we just went with that as an homage to the whole vibe of the cult, underground movies only viewable via videocassette that were central to our vision and mission. It seemed to embody that. Plus, we were constantly eating Lunchmeat sammiches while talking about all the movies, so it just made a lot of sense to us. We stylized it as one word and just went with it. We actually had Kirk Alex reach out to us a few years later after starting the zine and he was like, “Hey, nice name!” He was super cool about it, flattered. He did an interview for one the issues (LUNCHMEAT Midnight Snack #2), which we were of course thrilled to do.
Now, though, a lot of folks reference it as Lunchmeat VHS, because that’s the URL and social handle name, so I think it just kind of naturally became recognized as that… but the name of the mag and the original idea was just LUNCHMEAT.”
2. How did you come up with your business?
“It was really just a hobby for the majority of the time. I don’t think either of us thought of it as real, viable business until about a couple of years ago. It kind of just kept growing, expanding, and we kept doing a little more with it every year. We got an offer for distribution a couple years back, we took it, and that’s made it easier to reach more people and get the Lunchmeat wares out there on a larger scale. I think that, coupled with the recent explosion of interest in VHS and video era culture, and some incredible support from the VHS community, has really helped Lunchmeat get where it’s at right now. We feel extremely fortunate to be able to do what we do, and we make it our priority to bring Tapeheads radical content, wares, and events to help keep the culture vibrant, fun, and connected in a positive way. VHS is Happiness, my friends. *Cue Suicide from ROTLD: “You think this is a F@cking costume?! This is a way of LIFE!”
3. Can you talk a little bit about your magazine?
“We’ve been doing the magazine and all the LUNCHMEAT stuff for almost 15 years now, which is wild. We’ve done print since about 2007 and online coverage since about 2009 or so (I think – time flies!). I mentioned how the concept came to us in the previous question, but really, it was just to highlight the slew of amazing, baffling, fantastic, ridiculous and wonderful cinema and content that only exists on VHS. We didn’t know if anyone would react to it, but people did; and it’s driven us to keep VHSpreading the rewind word, champion these films, and celebrate the creative talents, stories, memories, et al attached to the era, and dig deeper into the history of the format, the happenings with the current culture – really every aspect of the video age, and how people are still connecting with it.
LUNCHMEAT MAGAZINE contains reviews of movies only available on VHS, interviews with actors, directors, and other cult personalities from outer limits of the video era, think-pieces on various ideas and histories within VHS culture, galleries of video store promo items, VHS-only animation, VCR care, and much more. If you want to enter a weird, radical, and informative rewind-inclined wonderland, we aim for LUNCHMEAT MAGAZINE to be the ticket.
You can get issues of LUNCHMEAT (along with all our other VHStuff) on LUNCHMEATVHS.COM! “
4. What is the most popular item in your store? Why do you think it’s so popular?
“I would say the magazine and our other publications, but the VHS releases are also essential to what we’re doing, and people really seem to dig those. Stickers sell often; the apparel does well. All of it gets a good amount of love and support, honestly. I think that’s why we do various rewind-inclined wares: so we can celebrate tape in all kinds of ways, and keep the community engaged, entertained and informed, whether that’s with distributing films we admire on VHS, making some fun merch, or creating publications all about our favorite format and all its wonders.
Funny story: We did a VHSale recently and someone bought like fifty HORROR Frisbees (Frisbees made to resemble the iconic Horror genre sticker from rental vids) – and we’re still super curious about what he’s gonna do with all those frisbees! [laughs]”
5. What are some of you personal favorite movies on VHS? Why are they your favorite?
” I mean, my favorite tapes are the ones I’ve had since I was a kid. Tapes of me and my family – BBQs, birthdays, holidays, stuff like that. Those are one of one copies. So those are definitely my favorite. But as for movies on VHS? I feel like it’s hard to say movies just on VHS, because I watch nearly all my movies on VHS? [laughs] I mean, not all, but that’s how I watch A LOT of movies… I would say The Gate, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mother’s Day (a copy that I got at a dollar store when I was like 16 and still have, and barely works anymore because it’s been played so much, which also gives it its own charm)…hmmmm…The PIT! I also love watching stuff like Uncle Buck, The Sandlot, Angus…Nostalgic stuff, of course. I was recently gifted a taped-from-TV version of Angus, and it had all the commercials, some alternate scenes and the edited-for-TV dialogue. That was amazing to see again after years and years. That’s a new favorite tape.
Why are they my favorite? Because they capture and time and place. I first watched those movies on tape, and it’s a distinct experience that’s stuck with me. Nostalgia is definitely a considerable part of it. It just feels comfortable. They just bring to me a different place for like an hour and twenty minutes or so. It’s a slice of happiness for that little bit of time.”
6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“Oh, yes, always! I think the most exciting thing right now is we’re just about to announce the line-up and special guests for DRIVE-IN VHS FEST 6 at Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, PA, happening on July 8th and 9th, 2022, presented with Mahoning and our friends at Saturn’s Core Audio & Video. It’s our favorite party of the year, so it always gets us REAL VHStoked. It’s two days and nights of VHS on the big screen, vendors, guests – a total VHS party, and just an absolutely amazing event altogether. It’s such an exciting assemblage of VHS appreciation and celebration, and we love seeing everyone out there. You can watch our socials and website for announcements, and check out Mahoning’s site for info once it’s fully announced and tickets go on sale.
But we’ve always got some cool VHStuff cooking. We’ll have new VHS releases all this year (with some really rad titles that we’re extremely excited about), some new publications dropping, more rewind-inclined threads, and few VHSecrets we can’t reveal just yet!”
If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:
Until next time!!!!